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Alliance trump BlackJacks with offensive outburst

Montreal Alliance Ahmed Hill - CEBL Photos

OTTAWA — The Montreal Alliance will host CEBL's Championship Weekend this year.

And on Tuesday night they looked more like a team that could do some damage during the Canadian Elite Basketball League's August showcase.

Stumbling out of the gates with four losses in their first five regular-season games, the Alliance finally found their groove on both sides of the ball with a convincing104-89 win over the struggling Ottawa BlackJacks (1-4) at TD Place.

Chris Smith led the Alliance with 21 points and five rebounds. Jordan Bowden scored 20 points coming off the bench and Ahmed Hill added 17. The Alliance outscored the BlackJacks 38-14 in the second quarter to build a 54-34 halftime lead and led 86-55 heading into the final quarter.

Tyrrel Tate scored 33 points for the BlackJacks, who beat the Alliance 87-86 last Thursday in Montreal. Isaih Moore had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Brandon Sampson chipped in with 10 points for the hosts, who led 20-18 after the first quarter.

“Today was a really good exhibition of what we could be,” said Alliance head coach Derrick Alston Sr. of his vision of how he wants his team to play.

Defensively, Ottawa missed assignments and made things too easy for Montreal to get to their spots.

“We have to cut off the highway to the rim,” said BlackJacks head coach James Derouin. “They’re finding all different ways to get in the paint … and we focused on that in practice but somewhere along the line with some of the new lineups and new guys that it looked a little discombobulated out there."

The game, billed as Women in Sports Night, highlighted a historic officiating crew. MP Malo, Fei Xiang and Christine Vuong became the first Canadian all-female crew to work a men's professional basketball game.

“I thought they did a great job with the emotions of the game, the ups and downs,” said Alston of the officiating. “For the most part the game was under control, nothing too crazy happened and I thought they did a really good job."

THROW-INS: The Brampton Honey Badgers (2-5) visit Saskatoon on Wednesday to play the Saskatchewan Rattlers (4-2). … There are three games Thursday as the Niagara River Lions (3-2) visit the Alliance, the Scarborough Shooting Stars (3-2) host the BlackJacks, and the Vancouver Bandits (5-1) host the Winnipeg Sea Bears (3-3) at Langley Events Centre. … Toronto guard Anthony Lawson, a former CEBL star with the Guelph Knighthawks in 2022, is playing for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, with Game 3 on Wednesday in Texas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2024.